Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Armed America... a new photo book from Phildelphia photographer Kyle Cassidy. Briefly, it's pictures of people with their guns. Here's Cassidy's intro:
This isn't a book about guns. It's a book about people.

Whether it's 39% or 50% of Americans, it's still an awful lot of people. I started wondering just who they were, what they looked like, and how they lived. Such was the genesis of Armed America: Portraits of American Gun Owners in Their Homes. The idea was to photograph a hundred gun owners, in their homes, and do a gallery show. I figured this would take about two years. But very soon after I started, it became evident that my ambitions were too low. My mailbox flooded with letters from people I didn't know wanting to participate -- I realized that I could probably photograph a hundred people in two months, but it wasn't a number of people that was important, it was their stories -- a cowboy in Texas, a survivalist in Montana, a deer hunter in Pennsylvania, a sheriff in Georgia, a soldier in Idaho.... What I really needed, I realized, was to get moving, to drive across the country and find America somewhere between here and there.
Phildelphia Weekly just did a cover story on the book, and it seems pretty interesting. Here are some clips for the Weekly story:
Meet Patrick the vampire-fanged goth entrepreneur; Joshua the humanitarian war-robot designer; Bash the dreadlocked metal guitarist with the scarred-over bullet hole in his left hand; Joel the Mt. Airy surfer dude; Diego the Argentinean 3-D artist; Kenyatta the cigar aficionado; and Chris and Cecilia—ass-kicking, trash-picking, guitar-and-sewing-machine-thrashing West Philly punk rockers.

All Philadelphia gun owners. Most of them featured in the recently published book Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes by Philadelphia photographer Kyle Cassidy.

And not a single Bible-thumping, bigoted, duck-fucking white supremacist militia son of a bitch among them.

Philadelphia is loaded with guns, both legal and illegal. Yet many of us live in a gun-free Philly. It’s possible to spend your entire life here without ever seeing a gun that’s not on a cop’s hip, and never knowingly meeting a gun owner.

There’s a Philadelphia that doesn’t know guns. A Philly that thinks gun ownership is dangerous, obscene and absurd. What kind of freak chooses to own something designed to rip holes in other human beings anyway?

But there’s another Philly.

And this isn’t the Philadelphia we read about every time there’s another homicide.

This is a third Philly. One with a loaded Glock in its waistband, and a shotgun and an assault rifle in the bedroom safe.

Stepping into the lives of Philadelphia gun owners is like entering a parallel dimension. At times it’s surreal.
"Duck-footed?" That's scary!

I'm going to try and get Mr. Cassidy interviewer for the podcast in a couple of interesting!

BTW, ARMED AMERICA isn't the first book of this sort. Back in the 1980s there was a photo book titled GUN PEOPLE....there are still a few copies floating around...I was in that one!

I've meant to post this from, which is a reprint from the 1911 Forum where I am *Banned For Life*! It's a really nice post on 10 things non-gun people should know about concealed weapons permit holders. Here's the Cliff Notes version:
1. We don’t carry firearms so that we can ignore other basics of personal safety.
2. We don’t think we are cops, spies, or superheros.
3. We are LESS likely, not more likely, to be involved in fights or “rage” incidents than the general public.
4. We are responsible gun owners.
5. Guns are not unsafe or unpredictable.
6. We do not believe in the concept of “accidental discharges”.
7. Permit holders do their best to keep our concealed weapons exactly that: concealed.
8. The fact that we carry a firearm to any given place does not mean that we believe that place to be inherently unsafe.
9. Concealed weapon permit holders are an asset to the public in times of trouble.
10. The fact that criminals know that some of the population may be armed at any given time helps to deter violence against all citizens.
Amen to all those the whole thing...excellent talking points.

My piece on The Passing of Giants is available today on The Shooting Wire. Check it out, please.

The weekly podcast is up, and the videos will be up later today or tomorrow...Webmaster Marshal is in DSL HELL, with his high-speed line cutting in and out. Makes uploading big files a real thrill!

BTW, I will be speaking tomorrow at the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Outdoor Channel sponsored luncheon in Minneapolis. I think I'm going to do the whole SIX STEPS TO ACCOMPLISHING THE IMPOSSIBLE talk — I blogged about it last year here — because there's no such thing as a free lunch!!!!


Anonymous said...

Philly journalists spends millions of words a year trying to convince themselves that they really work in New York City.

Philly is a city of houses, fairly blue collar and fiercely proud of itself. A perfect day in the city for most folks would be a Sunday drinking beer, eating a cheese steak and watching the Eagles beating the Dallas Cowboys 42-0.

Ask Uncle Walt if he's suprised about the number of folks who own or carry in the City of Brotherly Love. I'll bet you a soft pretzel he thinks the number is above 50%.


Anonymous said...

mb--duck-"whating"?? what does that mean? and what is meant by that phrase--whatever it is? that photog would be even more amazed at what is owned and in my upscale Jewish Miami Beach neighborhood--without even one tattoo!! dmd

Anonymous said...

I remember when Kyle was hanging out on the LJ guns community looking for Philadelphia area gun owners. Sadly, I didn't volunteer. I'm not too big on being photographed, and my house has hideous pink carpet (ask Bitter, she'll tell you) that I can't get rid of fast enough.

He did a great job though. We couldn't ask for better PR than that. To have a major Philadelphia publication print that is, quite honestly, shocking.

Anonymous said...

There was a time when I would become begrudgingly happy over some city-slicker journo "discovering" that all sorts of folks actually own and use guns.

However, as of late, I no longer feel any happiness over this occurrence, begrudging or otherwise.

In fact, I instead find myself wondering what sounds a smug, insular, totally clueless journo makes when hit by a speeding UPS truck.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the article quite does the book justice. I haven't seen the actual book yet, but from the reporting on it all over the place, and his own words, I take Cassidy's implicit argument to be that you can't draw easy stereotypes about gun owners. The PW article does just that by selectively profiling hipsters--philadelphia's sub-cultural-elite, as it were. The effect is really to make guns seem like a cool fashion accessory. And I can't imagine anyone--pro or anti-gun--thinking that's a positive way to frame gun-ownership.


Anonymous said...

I've got a copy of the book sitting on my desk. It is very well done; Mr Cassidy lets his subjects speak for themselves, both by photographing them in their homes holding their guns and in their brief answers to the question: "Why do you own guns?" No long, windy essays here. My favorite is the guy whose answer is "Because I can." That says it all. (It also happens to be my reason.)

I also found it oddly reassuring that many of the people's homes are as cluttered and indifferently furnished as mine. And, as a cat lover, I was fascinated by how many of the people had cats. Don't worry, there are dogs too.

The bottom line is that gun ownership cuts across all social, racial, and economic boundaries. We are Americans today precisely because our ancestors owned guns and knew how--and *when*--to use them. Just goes to show that matter how much we disagree on other political, social, and economic issues, we can all get together and shake hands under the big Pro-Second Amendment Tent.


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